Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fleece fun

Well, I played hooky with the knitting last night. Didn't pick it up once. However, I did play with other sheepy stuff.

I decided to go ahead and wash all the rest of the fleece from the fleece study that I'm doing. Every time I would open the cedar chest, it smelled like a farm. I really don't want all of my yarn and fiber smelling like the farm, so out it came.

This is what my dining room table looks like now.

And it stinks to high heaven. Smells like wet, stinky sheep fur. Yuck.

Here's what I've learned so far with the fleece study.

1. Most raw fleece is gross. It contains, poop, urine, dirt and various vegetable matter.
2. I used extremely hot water to help melt the grease off of it. That worked best for me. I've read all sorts of stuff about using cold or luke warm water, but the hot did the job. On most of these I had to do three washes and three rinses.
3. I don't like the power scour or fiber wash stuff. The one product that really worked to get the dirt and grease out? Dawn dishwashing detergent.
4. If you are doing a bunch of samples, have more than one lingerie bag handy (I did) so that you can do two at once. Takes forever with just one.
5. Be ready to shoo the cats off the table at least a hundred times. They are incredibly fascinated with wet sheep fur. The dogs prefer the disgusting poo filled fleece. Cats are definitely more intelligent than dogs and that's just more proof of it right there.

I've only spun up two of the fleeces in the study so far. As soon as the samples on the table are dry, they'll go into a labeled gal. size ziplock bag and will be put away until I can get around to carding or combing.

A card came in the study for each type of sample fleece. You are supposed to wash and clean the fleece, card it, spin it, knit a swatch from it and then attach the sample to the card. That's what you're supposed to do. I don't know that I'll do that.

I will spin it up and I will take notes on the cards. But I feel like swatching would be a waste of perfectly good yarn. I will probably use it in some small projects instead. I would rather do the work and have a product to show for all the work I've done. Does that make me a bad student? :)
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